Selene Maria Vatteroni

Selene Maria Vatteroni

Ahmanson Fellow
Literary Forms of Spirituality in Cinquecento Florence



Selene Maria Vatteroni holds a PhD in Italian Philology from the Scuola Normale Superiore. She has been Postdoctoral Fellow in the Alexander von Humboldt-Foundation at the Freie Universität Berlin and Ahmanson Fellow at the UCLA Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. Her current research deals with the connections between poetry, philosophy, and reformed spirituality in early modern Italy, with special focus on the figure of Benedetto Varchi and the Florentine milieu. She has published on Varchi’s canzoniere and previously on Italian Trecento poetry, with a focus on metrical-syntactical aspects. She critically edited Ventura Monachi’s Sonetti (Pisa, 2017).

Project Summary

The sixteenth century was a period of tumultuous religious change and shifting religious sensibilities in Europe as a whole. Italian Cinquecento culture was profoundly shaped by currents for reform and counter-reform: in particular, the fruitful line of inquiry set in motion by Carlo Dionisotti was able to establish a close connection, throughout the 1540s, between the rapid growth of the new literature in the volgare, pouring from the presses all over the peninsula, and a reform-flavored spirituality built around the doctrine of justification by faith and of the free, nonreciprocal gift of grace. This project aims to trace the persistent strain of reform-inflected literary production within the bosom of Florence’s primary cultural institution, the Accademia Fiorentina, from the first flowering of reformed spirituality around 1540 up to 1582, when a tightening up of the Florentine Inquisition amounted to a progressive shrinking of cultural horizons. It thereby aims at a first attempt to redraw the city’s cultural history before and after the Council of Trent, reassessing the key role played by the Accademia in resisting the pull of the “mental stagnation” of the Counter-Reformation.